Summer is officially here and everybody has a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out).
As Canadians, we are well too aware of how few hot and sunny days we have and what awaits us when they’re over…
More than any other season, summer weekends fill up fast. Make sure you don’t say yes to too many BBQ parties, pool parties or music festivals or you could find yourself without a weekend to spend at the cottage!
With so much to do and so little time, we need to get organized about our plans this summer. What are the greatest Ontario experiences you can tick off your list?
You want a full set of satisfying summer memories to last you through the winter, don’t you?
We’ve created a list of 2017’s BEST Ontario experiences to help you tick off every single box.
We’ve catered this list to every type: the creative kind, the cultural kind, the party animals, the adrenaline junkies, the beach bums… you name it! If you and your squad can make it through this entire list, you’ll have a healthy taste of every kind of experience you can imagine.
Location: Ontario Provincial Parks
Find Yours: Camping Adventures
Every good Canadian summer should include some camping. Camping is the ultimate escape. Being outside 24/7, becoming one with the lakes and forests and sleeping under the stars can refresh your psyche and energize your soul like nothing else.
Great news – you don’t need any previous experience to go on a real, backwoods camping adventure! These trips are lead by a certified guide who will show you the ropes. Plus all the equipment you’ll need will be provided (outside of clothes and personal items).
Camping can be about fun and games, socializing with your friends, singing camp songs and reconnecting to your inner-child or just a good old fashion get-back-to-nature chill sesh. Whatever you want your trip to be, make sure you book some time off for camping this summer.
Air Guitar Canada National Championships
Event Dates: July 15th, 2017
Location: Toronto (Mod Club)
Event Admission: $15.00
Think you have what it takes to be the next Air Guitar Champion?
There’s only one way to find out. Qualifying local championships are underway in cities all across the nation, including Hamilton’s Championship on July 5th at This Ain’t Hollywood (get your tickets to attend here).
Along with a plethora of prizes and street cred, the winners of these qualifiers will be sent to battle in the National Championship in Toronto (July 15th) for the chance to represent Canada in the Oulu Air Guitar World Championships! So get your tights ready, your makeup on and that air guitar of yours, because it’s officially time to rock out!
Experience a Beach Day at Sandbanks
Location: Sandbanks Provincial Park
Cost: Up to You
Find Yours: Beach Rentals at Sandbanks Provincial Park
What summer would be complete without a few solid days on the beach?
If you only have a few days available for beach time, there’s only one place you should go. The clear waters and white sands of Sandbanks Provincial Park can have you feeling like you’ve escaped to the Canadian-Caribbean.
Flying through the air high above the beach as you ride the jet streams shooting out of your Iron-Man style boots is n experience you won’t soon forget.
Once you’re done with your rented toys, you’ll be exhausted. take a lunch break and chill with up to 19 of your closest friends on your very own pontoon boat! Spend the afternoon lounging with ice cold beers from the mini-fridge and jump off the sides while your friend flips burgers on the built in BBQ.
A perfect end to the ULTIMATE beach experience!
Hamilton Cocktail Showcase
Event Dates: July 18th, 2017
Location: Bay City Music Hall (50 Leander Dr, Hamilton)
Event Admission: $40.00 (tickets available here)
Drinks, friends and an awesome atmosphere. Sounds like a great time, doesn’t it?
Back for its 6th year, the highly anticipated Hamilton Cocktail Showcase makes its return to Hamilton. This event is extremely well known for providing a platform for industry professionals to showcase crafted cocktails while giving back to the community.
Don’t miss your opportunity to watch some of the best bartenders in the area go head to head in a round robin competition, comprised of 3 total rounds. The final round showcases each competitor’s creativity and includes 1 secret ingredient and 1 black box spirit.
Competing bartenders will be judged by an elite panel of judges across different categories, including (but not limited to): speed, presentation, and of course taste!
Experience Luxury with Exotic Cars
Price: $94 – $806 (dependent on how many cars & laps you choose)
Find Yours: Race Exotic Cars at Toronto Motorsports Park
Why not top your perfect summer off by crossing one of your biggest fantasies off your bucket list!?
At a race track in Oakville, you have the chance to race the cars of your dreams. Lambhorginis, Porsches, Audis, Ferraris, McLarens… whatever your dream car is – you can get behind the wheel. Feel like the sexy-James-Bond wannabe you really are, without having to break the bank!
If a closed track isn’t your thing and you’re dying to get on the open road, check out the rest of our exotic car adventures here. This experience is a summer MUST!
Piece by Piece: Stitching Together Canadian Stories (The Quilt of Belonging Exhibit)
Event Dates: July 10th – Aug 16th, 2017
Location: The Cotton Factory (270 Sherman Ave N, Hamilton)
Event Admission: Some ticketed components (Free – $134.. View all of the events online at https://www.bruha.com/organization/109)
**This is a Canada150 signature event**
What better way to celebrate our Nation’s 150th birthday than to check out the Quilt of Belonging, an iconic Canadian art piece representing true diversity.
Well the good news for you is that between July 10th and August 16th, the Quilt of Belonging will be available to see at Hamilton’s The Cotton Factory. Fun fact: the Quilt is a 120-foot textile art project comprised of 263 blocks each of which was created to recognize a different part of Canadian diversity.
This must-see Canadian Exhibit will also include daily programming that includes a breadth of activities from a variety of cultural groups within the region of Hamilton, Halton and Brant. You can except to see many different activities such as: weekly demonstrations, weekend workshops, Thursday night talks, Friday night performances, Saturday night concerts, and a grand opening event on July 10th!
Experience Paintball with Your Friends
Price: $30 / person
Find Yours: Paintball Adventures
Looking for something a little more lowkey? Maybe you’re more strategist than adrenaline junkie. Why not round the squad up for an action-packed day of paintball?
WIth the Ultimate Day of Paintball you will finally get the chance to play out multiple scenes from your favourite movies including:
- Prison Break
- Tomb Raider (Barrie)
- Tropic Thunder
- Resident Evil
- D-Day Landing (Ottawa)
- The Castle (Ottawa)
So get geared up, get in character and jump into the action! Sure, you COULD wait until fall to go… but was there frost on the ground in Tropic Thunder? Didn’t think so.
A Midsummer’s Dream 2017
Event Date: Saturday, August 19th
Location: Gage Park (Hamilton, ON)
Event Admission: FREE!
We’ve all seen it before. A group of people just leaving a festival or a race, covered in coloured-chalk. But how and where can you get in on this action?!
The answer is: A Midsummer’s Dream. Ontario’s premier colour festival that takes place in Hamilton each year towards the end of August. This year the festival will be returning to Gage Park for its 6th year with some serious plans to make it the best and biggest turnout yet!
Alright, but what’s with all the colour? The festival is inspired by the ancient Hindu Festival Holi, a spring festival, also known as the festival of colours. It is said that the festival signifies triumph of good over evil, the arrival of spring/summer, and for many people a festive day to meet others, play, laugh, forget, forgive, and repair broken relationships. The colours (and throwing them) signify diversity and unification.
White Water Rafting
Location: Ottawa River
Price: $140 – $308 (multi-day + camping options available)
Find Yours: White Water Rafting Adventures
As summer winds down in early September, you get sad that all the greatest adventures are in the rearview mirror as the days get a tiny bit cooler… but you’re wrong!
White water rafting the Ottawa river is most intense in the spring and at the end of the summer as the water levels are highest. This adventure is easy to do and packs THE MOST adrenaline into one epicly wet n’ wild day.
If you’re not from the Ottawa area – this adventure is definitely worth the trip! Grab up to 12 of your closest friends and make a weekend of exploring the nation’s capital, followed by an intense, white-knuckled day careening down the river. It’s a day you and your crew will surely never forget.
You just can’t get whitewater like this in the 6!
Kegs4Cncr (Charity Beer Event)
Event Dates: September 23rd, 2017
Location: 207 Burlington St. E (Collective Arts Brewery)
Event Admission: $25.00 – $35.00
Photo Cred: Collective Arts Brewing
Great beer and a charitable cause might just be one of the best drink pairings for a guaranteed good time!
That’s exactly what Kegs4Cncr is all about! The event is all about bringing people together while raising funds to help advance medical technology for McMaster Sick Kids Oncology. The end goal is to raise awareness of the disease that affects us all and to exemplify how far any generous effort can go.
The first annual Kegs4Cncr will officially be taking place at the Arts & Science Brewery (Collective Arts + Nickel Brook Brewing Co.) with a final date that will be announced shortly!
Round up your friends, buy some beer and celebrate together for an amazing cause!
So there you have it. Think of it less like a list of Ontario’s greatest summer experiences and more like a challenge.
Think you can hit all the events and take on the adventures? Share this post with your friends & fam to see if you can get through the whole thing!
If you do, we guarantee an entire summer of rich memories that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.
*This blog was written in collaboration with BuckitLife, an online marketplace for local bucket-list type adventures like skydiving, exotic car driving and even white water rafting. Build your list and live it with BuckitLife.